What You Can Learn from McAfee's 100 Tweets in a Day

Last Updated Apr 17, 2009 11:41 AM EDT

You may already be harnessing the marketing power of Twitter, but have you used it 100 times in one day? Last month, Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee conducted an experiment (thanks to a lost bet) in which he sent 100 Tweets in one day. As a result, he picked up new followers and saw his Twitter ratings jump. While no person has the time or energy (or a following who wants to be subjected to 100 Tweets a day) to do this on a regular basis, here are a few tips you can take away from the experiment:

1. Tweet about more than yourself and your company
Twitter is designed to be an interactive tool between you and the people who follow your posts. Though each Tweet technically answers the question "What are you doing?", posting solely about what you're up to at work or at home isn't necessarily the best way to start a conversation. Of McAfee's 100 Tweets, he drew the most response from posts that didn't answer this question but had a wide appeal: "Ten Things I've Learned From Teaching" and "Twenty Great Poems Available Online." Which brings me to the next point.

2. People like lists
Offering your own rankings of items is a surefire way to get people involved, whether they comment on your choices or contribute their own response lists. In McAfee's case, he picked up extra traffic when other people starting Tweeting about his lists, alerting their own followers to go to McAfee's page.

3. Engage in multi-platform promotion
Use Twitter in conjunction with other media tools. McAfee successfully made his day of 100 Tweets into an event by blogging about it beforehand, stoking readers' curiosity and encouraging them to follow him to see the results. (He also kindly gave readers fair warning to stop following him for the day if they didn't want to be inundated with Tweets.)

4. Be prepared for a few snarky comments
If you're willing to put yourself out there on an interactive platform, your efforts will draw their share of criticism. After McAfee blogged about his 100 Tweets, one reader left this comment: "I thought it was a grotesquely self-indulgent exercise. The lists were a cop-out and obviously prepared well in advance." While you can't please all the people all the time, even negative feedback has its perks: it keeps the conversation going and shows that you're striking a chord with people, which sometimes is all we can ask for in a world of so many competing Tweets.

  • Stacy Blackman

    Stacy Sukov Blackman is president of Stacy Blackman Consulting, where she consults on MBA admissions. She earned her MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and her Bachelor of Science from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Stacy serves on the Board of Directors of AIGAC, the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants, and has published a guide to MBA Admissions, The MBA Application Roadmap.